Good news for everyone concerned about food allergens, including gluten and sulphites. As of August 4, 2012, new regulations take effect in Canada to enhance the labelling of food allergens, gluten and added sulphites.

According to Health Canada, the new regulations mean that when protein, modified protein or protein fractions from the following foods are present in prepackaged products, these allergens will need to be declared using plain language. The foods are:

  1. almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios or walnuts;
  2. peanuts;
  3. sesame seeds;
  4. wheat and triticale;
  5. eggs;
  6. milk;
  7. soybeans;
  8. crustaceans (common name of the crustaceans);
  9. shellfish (common name of the shellfish);
  10. fish (common name of the fish);
  11. mustard seeds.

Also, gluten sources will need to be declared when a food contains gluten protein, modified gluten protein, or gluten protein fractions from barley, oats, rye, triticale or wheat (or a hybridized strain of any of these cereals).

Sulphites will still have to be declared at any level of use when directly added to a food as a food additive or when indirectly added to a food as components of an ingredient that is not exempted from component declaration. In addition, the new regulations will require that sulphites added as components of an ingredient exempted from component declaration will have to be declared when the total amount of sulphites contained within the food is 10 parts per million or more in the finished product.

More information is available at the Health Canada website.